Diane Guerrero Helps Push for National Latino Museum in Washington, D.C.

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Actress and activist Diane Guerrero joined lawmakers at the Capitol to help push the creation of a Latino Museum.

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The Orange is the New Black star, along with a bipartisan group of Latino lawmakers, introduced a bill on Thursday to create a Smithsonian National American Latino Museum, similar to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, on the National Mall. “I was so excited because this is the kind of thing my friends talk about, you know, we sit around and drink coffee and you know, we’re really angry, we’re like, where’s the Latino museum? Where’s our history? Where can go with our families, where can we go with our friends to learn about our history?” the 30-year-old explained.

Guerrero, who has been an advocate for Latinos and immigrants after her parents were deported when she was 14, said she excited to have Latinos be part of this country's rich history. “So immediately I wanted to be part of this project and do whatever I could to help and spread the message of awareness and the absolute necessity this museum is and what it would mean to our country and our community. Latinos and Latinas have contributed to every aspect of society in the United States,” the Colombian-American star said.

However, this is not the first time the idea of a Latino museum has been presented. In 2011 and 2013, Congress considered similar proposals but failed to pass them as law.

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“We are already in the process of negotiating with high net-worth donors, with a lot of corporations and individuals who care deeply about this effort, those discussions are ongoing. The challenge had been in the past not having a bill that we could turn to,” Danny Vargas, chairman of the board of directors of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, said. “There’s a lot to be said for the efforts of the Smithsonian and what they’ve done to collect donors for the African-American museum as well.”